Today's release of energy inventories from the Department of Energy (DoE) showed that crude oil inventories declined by 1.233 million barrels, even as traders were looking for a build of 1.2 million barrels. Even with the decline in crude oil inventories, though, levels remain well above their historical average for this time of year. As a result, crude oil prices saw no positive impact from the news, and were actually trading down more than 2% as of mid-afternoon.
Gasoline stockpiles also declined this week, but unlike crude oil, traders were actually expecting inventories to decline, and the actual drop was less than expected. Gasoline inventories are not as much above average as crude oil, but we would note that the spread between actual and average inventories has been widening for five weeks.